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How to use natural cleansing balms properly to avoid skin problems and why you shouldn't use balms containing beeswax on your face

a tray full of natural face cleansing balms one with the lid off

Natural cleansing balms

I have been trying out natural beauty products for decades and in that time I have tried many natural cleansing balms. It's fair to say that I haven't done too well with a lot of them!

I've had pimples, spots, rashes, full blown break-outs and even acne!

It took me some time to sort out what made a good cleansing balm and what ingredients to avoid in them.

What is a cleansing balm?

Cleansing balms are rich and creamy formulas made from oils, waxes and/or butters that lift dirt and deep cleanse the skin without drying it out. They can also be used safely around the eyes.

Ingredients to avoid in cleansing balms

Go for natural cleansing balms every time, un-fragranced or with essential oils. Avoid anything with 'parfum' or 'fragrance' listed on the ingredients list and anything with colours in it. Also avoid any natural cleansing balms with beeswax in them as they can cause many skin issues - read about the downsides of using a natural cleansing balm containing beeswax.

Also avoid anything from my list of 15 ingredients to avoid in your skincare products. The article also tells you how to start to understand the ingredients list on your mainstream skincare products.

Beeswax in cleansing balms

The natural cleansing balms that I have not got on well with have had a huge amount of beeswax in them and I now avoid facial products which have a high concentration of beeswax in (apart from lip balms where beeswax is absolutely brilliant).

Downsides of natural cleansing balms

There are a lot of natural cleansing balms out there that have beeswax in them and the reason I don't like them is because when there is a high concentration of beeswax in a product it's really hard to get out of the pores properly. This can be exacerbated when people rub the balm into their skin hard, pushing the wax in to pores even further. It can cause all sorts of skin issues including breakouts, spots and acne.

Beauty Tip
Avoid natural cleansing balms with a high concentration of beeswax in them

If you are having any facial skin issues and are using a natural cleansing balm then I recommend checking the ingredients list. Remember that the ingredients are listed in order of concentration with the highest concentrations first, so if beeswax is near the top of the list there is probably quite a lot in the cleansing balm.

Beeswax is often used in balms to help set the oils and butters, but can be avoided by using other hard butters which melt more easily upon contact with the skin and are easier to wash off.

If you have previously used a cleaning balm and had skin problems then I recommend that you try again! Beeswax free natural cleansing balms can make your skin soft and plump and are a boon in the cold and dry weather. They also help stop trans-epidermal water loss, also known as TEWL

What is TEWL in skin?

TEWL or trans-epidermal water loss, is when water evaporates from your skin leaving it dry and more prone to wrinkles and fine lines. It can also change the skin mantle leaving the skin more likely to be irritated and blotchy.

You can prevent TEWL by protecting the skin with hydrating and protective natural skincare products that also respect skin health. These help trap water in the skin preventing evaporation and you can also boost this by drinking more water to plump cells from the inside too.

If you are looking for a beeswax free natural cleansing balm read my review of Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm which is available in both fragranced and un-fragranced versions. It's super concentrated so you don't need to use much to get the full benefits so very economical.

a jar of lyonsleaf natural beauty balm

You also need to ensure that you cleanse properly when you are using a natural cleansing balm and this means using a face cloth, not just water, to remove it. See How To Use a Cleansing Balm.

Don't let all this put you off beeswax in natural skincare products though - it's absolutely brilliant on the rest of the body!

Benefits of beeswax for skin

Beeswax is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and is great for dermatitis and psoriasis. It softens skin and reduces trans-epidermal water loss whilst providing a protective barrier for the skin. (Bee Products in Dermatology and Skincare. Anna Kurek-Gorecka et al February 2020). This is why it is so good in lip and hand balms.

Fancy making your own natural lip balms with beeswax? You can make your own lavender and oat, an award winning rose geranium and rosehip and a peppermint and avocado lip balm!

Or why not try the Intensive Hand Balm, fabulous for dry and cracked skin, deeply moisturising for both hands and nails as well as helping protect hands from drying out.

Beeswax also contains a source of Vitamin A which helps delay collagen degrading in the skin and also helps damaged skin regenerate. Beeswax has a huge amount to offer on the skincare front and I love it, you just have to be careful how you use it on your face as not every facial skin will react well to it.

Benefits of natural cleansing balms

Natural cleansing balms are great for sensitive and delicate skin as they don't strip the natural oils. Some people think that they aren't good to use on oily and combination skin but the opposite can the true. Many foaming face washes and cleansers strip the skin encouraging it to make more sebum and then you get in to a vicious cycle with the skin over producing oils to try and rebalance itself.

By using a natural cleansing balm on oily and acne prone skin (one with the right oils in that don't clog the pores - called non comedogenic), the skin is encouraged to settle after a while and it will start to self regulate the production of sebum.

Natural cleansing balms help the skin looks more plumped up and less dehydrated. As a bonus, this means fine lines and wrinkles look less noticeable - great for mature or dry skins which need an added moisture boost during cleansing.

You can also boost your skin condition by making sure you exfoliate on a regular basis - see The Benefits of Exfoliating for more information!

How to Use a Cleansing Balm

  • Wash your hands and make sure they are thoroughly dry.

  • Put a small amount of cleansing balm on to your fingertips and rub it in the palms of your hands until it melts.

  • Apply to dry skin and start to gently massage the balm all over the face. You can use it to remove eye makeup from scratch, but I usually take most of my eye make-up off with a cleanser first - read my review of Baie Botanique Cleanser which I use to remove my eye makeup - my eyelashes have never been better!

  • Run a cleansing cloth under quite warm water* then use the cloth to start to gently remove the melted balm from your face in circular motions. Do not pull, drag or stretch the skin. Rinse the cloth and repeat the process until the balm has completely been removed.

  • Rinse face with warm water and pat dry.

* I absolutely adore the Dual Action Facial Cloth by Baie Botanique. There are two sides to the cloth, the soft bamboo terry-like side is used to remove the cleanser and make-up and the cotton muslin side is then used to gently exfoliate the skin. The cloth is reusable and easily washed and eco-friendly. It costs £6 for one or £18 for a pack of three. Read my review of the Baie Botanique Dual Action Facial Cloth.

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